This, according to Ampere Analysis, extended Discovery’s lead of 46, recorded in 2020, to 153 titles by the end of last year.
ViacomCBS pipped Netflix for second place with 406 titles, compared to Netflix’s 403. Three other contenders – Disney, the BBC and Comcast – came close with 387, 373, and 353 first-run shows respectively. This group of six pulled further ahead of their global rivals through 2021, with each supporting the expansion of their own SVOD services. WarnerMedia also accelerated throughout the year, but not enough to rank in the top six.
Ampere notes that the key for 2022 will be those shows commissioned but not yet released; the in-production slate. Discovery’s typical commissions (largely documentaries) have a shorter production timescale and are lower cost and less high-profile than titles on Netflix’s still predominantly scripted slate.
Netflix is set to release most of its 243 in-production TV titles in 2022, with an additional 106 movies, which will push its overall slate of original releases to over 2,000 titles.
These figures for 2021 exclude the US majors’ growing SVOD movie slate. Combined they have commissioned 74 movie titles specifically for SVOD. However, adding Netflix’s 203 commissioned movies in 2021 would push its into first place, albeit via a less direct comparison.
Through their in-production TV show commissions for their VOD platforms, the studios’ intentions are laid bare. Among all the TV shows currently being produced by Disney, 58% are now Originals for its streaming platform, Disney+. WarnerMedia follows closely behind with 85 titles for HBO Max, representing 48% of the shows it currently has in production. Titles destined for VOD make up 39% of ViacomCBS’s current slate and 28% of Comcast’s.
Commenting on the findings, Richard Cooper, research director at Ampere Analysis, said: “2022 will see further additions to these content slates, as the studio-backed VOD services continue to expand both their original catalogues and subscriber bases, both domestically and, increasingly, internationally”.